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Cambodia's poorest to be supported through a new food security and social safety net program

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The Ministry of Economy and Finance and the World Bank signed a US$13 million agreement to support Cambodia’s poorest and most vulnerable people by strengthening food security and social safety nets.
The World Bank has approved the Smallholder Agriculture and Social Protection Development Policy Operation to support the efforts of the Government of Cambodia to mitigate the combined impacts of the global food price and economic crises. The program aims to boost food security for poor households and expand safety net support.


“Even though Cambodia is a rice exporter, the poor are highly vulnerable to high food prices and it was not clear that smallholder farmers had the needed support for them to take advantage of higher prices to produce more,” said Annette Dixon, World Bank Country Director. “We hope that this operation will reinforce the excellent work of other programs from Government, NGOs and donors supporting agriculture and social protection in Cambodia. It will also help the poor to improve their agricultural production and access to market, and to protect the most vulnerable group through better policies.”

In particular, the program sets out to ensure better oversight and regulation of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and seeds to improve food productivity at the small farm level. It will also accelerate the registration of farmers’ groups so that individual farmers can better access credit and marketing opportunities for their crops. At the same time, the program will improve targeting of the country’s social protection systems to reach the country’s neediest people.

The US$13 million DPO is made up of an $8 million grant from the Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP) and a $5 million credit from IDA, the World Bank’s fund for low income countries. The GFRP, to which the Australian Government was a significant contributor, is managed by the World Bank and provides financial and technical support to countries affected by the global food crisis.

The Australian Government, through AusAID, is contributing $AUD2.8 million for analytical and capacity building support and the design and evaluation of pilot activities to support the program. “We support the Cambodian Government’s focus on strengthening services for farmers—to increase productivity and also to combat poverty. The supply of better seeds and fertilizer and ensuring social safety net help reaches the poorest of the poor are welcome, concrete steps by the Royal Government, along with more support for farmer associations,” said Margaret Adamson, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia.

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World Bank

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